Band of the Day – The Spyrals

SPYRALS

Hypnotic garage bands from San Francisco absolutely do it for me. The Spyrals have risen above the rest with a more classic approach, tight drumming and dizzy guitar riffs. This trio is jangly, fuzzy, trippy, and lead singer Jeff Lewis has a great commanding presence and a perfect rock star voice, he can cry without whining the way Neil Young sings. Their album they released this summer, “Out of Sight”, is a great collection of tight, Bay Area sounding rock and roll. I know it’s a cheap cop out to say a band sounds like another, but these guys really do the early Rolling Stones sound well. Opener “Need Your Fire” sounds like it should be in a Quentin Tarantino movie, while “Such A Pain” makes you shimmy with the heavy use of tambourine and delicate repeated guitar riffs. The title track is exactly what you would think a San Francisco garage rock band would sound like, man they nail this sound.

Most of the songs clock in under three minutes, making this album very economical and great for running errands, you never have to sit in the parking lot for eleven more minutes til the song ends like you do with the Grateful Dead. While they have psychedelic tendencies live, at the end of the day this is a tight, concise garage rock band that needs to be played on everyone’s radio. The bassist Dylan Edrich has done time with Thee Oh Sees and Mikal Cronin, so fans of those should check these guys out. Future looks jangly and bright for these guys.

Listen to the album at their bandcamp: The Spyrals “Out of Sight”

Superhuman Happiness – Band to Watch

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Their last release “Hands” by Superhuman Happiness starts with what else – hands. “Our Favorite Part” begins with syncopated layers of handclaps, and by the time the vocals come in, the party has started. These guys made a name for themselves playing energetic Brooklyn dance parties, and the vibe is still the same, just on a more grand scale now. They grew a reputation touring with Rubblebucket and Marco Benevento, signed with The Royal Potato Family, and now we have a full length release that’s built up steam for a few months and are about ready to pop.

I have really been anticipating this album since I was told each song segues into each other on the album. The Phish fan in me is always yearning for that seamless transition between songs (pronounced “seegs” by the guys in the poster line in Tahoe), and you do indeed get nonstop music. This album should be in every party host’s catalog, it does the DJ work for you. The handclaps continue through the whole album, and I think they are particularly fitting in the breakdown of “I Can Hear You Calling”. As the theme is repeated and slowly deconstructed, that clapping provides a perfect backbone for any chances the musicians want to take.

“Sentimental Pieces” is a slinky cool groove with vocals that sound a little Eels-like, and “Second Heart” brings the horns and harder dance beats. Once again, syncopated handclaps lead in for “Elevator Elation”, a building, driving song with horns going up in half steps, pushing you further into the ascension. By the time the peak is reached, I’m dancing in my living room, impossible to sit still. As a fan of extended instrumentals, I hope this gets some radio play, it’s definitely the highlight of the album for me. The album ends with “Second Heart Reprise”, a lovely coda that gives the whole album a nice cohesion.

Keep your eyes on these guys, with members from Antibalas, TV on the Radio and tUnE-yArDs making smart pop that at moments sounds like it was written by David Byrne, it’s pretty hard to go wrong.

Listen to “Sentimental Pieces” radio edit here: Superhuman Happiness Soundcloud

Watch a video for “Elevator Elation” here: youtube video

Said the Whale – Band to Watch

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Once again, a Canadian band has captured my heart with their interesting song structures, perfect melodies, and yearning but positive lyrics. Canadians really excel at this kind of stuff. Vancouver’s Said the Whale have an eclectic style, mixing elements of the 60’s, 80’s and 90’s into a really polished, heavy pop sound. Their new album “hawaiii” (three i’s) drops on September 17th, not wasting any time and taking full advantage of their momentum, and they are touring the U.S. now, with a date at Larimer Lounge on August 19th in Denver. They’ve been popular in Canada for a few years, and just made the crossover with the success of their new single “I Love You”.

I had a chance to listen to the new album, and it’s great stuff, each song is a little pop nugget, really developed pop nuggets. “Narrows” is great straightforward pop rock with the perfect amount of 90’s distortion and jangle, collecting together into a crescendo of beautiful sound at the end. The new single “I Love You” starts out straightforward pop punk, the chorus goes off into a Blur sounding Britpop wall of vocals, and then one of my favorite musical things ever, the continuous tapping of one piano key. I don’t know what it is about that “dink dink dink dink dink” but it sounds like rock to me. They remind me a lot of the band fun. in “Safe to Say”, a big, grand sounding song with lots of pomp and excess. The rest of the album is rounded out with 60’s surf beats, junkie lyrics and Canadian rap a.k.a. all the good stuff. This band is making the big push, go see them in your town: tour dates

Watch the video for “I Love You”, and no it’s not an episode of Most Extreme Elimination Challenge, I mean it is, but the band is guest starring: “I Love You”

Sawmill Joe – Artist to Watch

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Ok, let’s get this out of the way. Sawmill Joe is so attractive he could be on soap operas. I don’t always like musicians to be hot, I feel like I go easier on them, and I hate that. First heard about him because of The Lumineers covering one of his songs, so I never went looking for his stuff. He came up recently when I was going down a Youtube rabbit hole, clicked play, dude in a fishing boat and wind blowing at the mic. I was about to shut it off when he started to sing. Floored. This guy sounds like he survived the Dust Bowl and was roommates with Arlo Guthrie. Watch that fishing boat video here: Sawmill Joe – The Way That I Am”

He’s playing this Saturday at Lost Lake in Denver, bring a date.

Check out the rest of his music free here: Sawmill Joe bandcamp

Watch him be the star of a Coen Brothers film soundtrack.

The Octopus Project “Fever Forms” – Band to Watch

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The Octopus Project are one of Austin’s most interesting bands. Part performance art, part experimental pop, part pure magic. On July 9th, they released their fifth album Fever Forms, and I can’t get enough of it. Their songs are not necessarily verse-chorus-verse, sometimes just instrumental, repeating a musical theme, and then layering and layering sounds and instruments until you get the most glorious peaks and dense, lush soundscapes. On top of that, it’s danceable progrock. The album opens with “The Falls”, an onslaught of electric guitar licks, aaaaahhh’s, and fantastic frenetic beats. There’s a very epic feel to “The Mythical E.L.C.”, all charging drums and bouncy basslines layered upon each other until they create a wall of blissful sound. And that’s before the vocals have even started! My favorite track on the album is the more traditional “The Man with the Golden Hand”, a great major key bonanza that is reminiscent of Passion Pit and Generationals, as bleeps and bops from synths come from every angle. Makes me think of dancing in the sun. “Sharpteeth” closes out the album with catchy, poppy synths rocking out until only one is left, trailing off into the night, leaving a great ending note on the album. As you can see, lots of adjectives describe The Octopus Project. While they have a great cult following in Austin, this album really represents their live show well, and will definitely garner them new fans.

Check out the first single: “Whitby”

And watch the video for their second single: “Sharpteeth”

And by all means, go see them live!

Tour Dates

08 06 13 NEW ORLEANS / ONE EYED JACKS
08 07 13 MOBILE / ALABAMA MUSIC BOX
08 09 13 ATLANTA / DRUNKEN UNICORN
08 10 13 KNOXVILLE / PILOT LIGHT
08 11 13 CHAPEL HILL / LOCAL 506
08 13 13 PHILADELPHIA / JOHNNY BRENDA’S
08 14 13 WASHINGTON / DC9
08 15 13 CAMBRIDGE / TT THE BEARS #
08 16 13 BURLINGTON / HIGHER GROUND
08 17 13 NEW YORK / MERCURY LOUNGE
08 19 13 COLUMBUS / KOBO
08 20 13 PONTIAC / THE PIKE ROOM
08 23 13 CHICAGO / SUBTERRANEAN
08 24 13 MINNEAPOLIS / 7TH ST. ENTRY
08 25 13 KANSAS CITY / THE RECORD BAR
09 05 13 BRYAN / GRAND STAFFORD THEATER
09 07 13 SAN ANTONIO / LIMELITE
09 11 13 NORMAN / OPOLIS
09 13 13 DENVER / LARIMER LOUNGE
09 14 13 SALT LAKE CITY / KILBY COURT
09 16 13 SEATTLE / CHOP SUEY
09 17 13 PORTLAND / MISSISSIPPI STUDIOS
09 19 13 SACRAMENTO / HARLOW’S NIGHT CLUB
09 20 13 SAN FRANCISCO / CAFE DU NORD
09 21 13 LOS ANGELES / THE ECHO
09 22 13 SAN DIEGO / SODA BAR
09 24 13 PHOENIX / RHYTHM ROOM

The Blank Tapes – Band to Watch

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If you are a fan of Foxygen or The Monkees then you will love this band. They have that throwback 60’s sound nailed, and it sounds like sunshine, perfect for summer. The Southern California mastermind behind it all, Matt Adams, is a garage 8-track junkie influenced by The Kinks, and oh does it show, and his songs are fantastic. California is really coming out with a lot of timeless California beach music lately, I’m loving it. They will be playing Hi Dive this Sunday, I see big things for them. I mean, look how cool they look:

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Listen to their music here: The Blank Tapes bandcamp

Link to the video for “Coast to Coast”. Someone else thinks they should tour with Foxygen: “Coast to Coast” video

BRONCHO – Band to Watch Playing the Fox on June 30

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BRONCHO out of Oklahoma are really making a name for themselves this year. I caught them at SXSW and thought they were one of the better garage bands I saw that week, and have since had numerous people ask me if I had heard of them. I’m a sucker for bands that say their name in a song, so “Pick a Fight” sucked me right in from thegetgo. It also is the lead song of their album Can’t Get Past the Lips, a perfect collection of Ramones-influenced garage rock. “I Don’t Really Want to be Social” is a perfect minimal rock song about alienation, and they’ve filmed a great video for “Try Me Out Sometime” . They will be at the Fox Theatre in Boulder on June 30th, playing with the fantastic Two Gallants , don’t miss these guys and get your tickets here!: ticket link